annually on October 8th (1921 to 1926)
the second Saturday in October (1927 and 1928)
the third Saturday in October (since 1929)
Sweetest Day is dedicated to love and is a day when chocolates, candy, and other sweets are given to significant others, and to other important people in one's life, such as family members and friends. The roots of the holiday go back to Candy Day, which was created by the National Confectioners Association and celebrated in October 1916, with the slogan "The Sweetest Day in the Year." The following year, Herbert Hoover, then head of the U.S. Food Administration, requested the National Confectioners Association to not hold the day, in order to conserve sugar during World War I. They complied with his request and the day was discontinued.
In 1921, a holiday based off Candy Day was born: Sweetest Day. The idea came for the new holiday came from Herbert Birch Kingston, head of the Kingston Company, an advertising company in Cleveland, who wanted to bring a little joy to the less fortunate—the homeless, orphans, and shut-ins. Eight other men formed the "Sweetest Day in the Year" committee to make the day a reality. On October 8, 1921, the first Sweetest Day was held. Ten thousand boxes of candy were given to orphanages and other charitable organizations. Candy was handed out at hospitals and nursing homes, and over 2,000 boxes of candy were given to newspaper boys. Silent movie stars Ann Pennington and Theda Bara helped promote the day and handed out candy as well.
In the years that followed, candy manufacturers began promoting the day, as did the National Confectioners Association. It began being held on the third Saturday of October. Historically, it has primarily been celebrated in the Midwest, no more so than in the state of its origin, Ohio. It has also been important in some parts of the Northeast and has continued to spread around the rest of the country.
How to Observe Sweetest Day
Celebrate the day by giving chocolate, candy, or other sweets to your loved ones. You could also celebrate the day true to its original vision, by giving candy to those in need or to the less fortunate, such as those at homeless shelters, in nursing homes, or in orphanages.